Green jobs

Opening Message at the Climate Change Consciousness Week Side Event on Green Jobs and Just Transition to a Green Economy

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Climate Change Consciousness Week Side Event on Green Jobs and Just Transition to a Green Economy, Manila, Philippines, 21 November 2017

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 21 November 2017
  • Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman of the Climate Change Commission
  • Distinguished government officials and representatives from workers’ and employers’ organizations, academe, civil society, private sector
  • Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you!
I am pleased to welcome you to the side event of the Climate Change Consciousness Week on Green Jobs and Just Transition to a Green Economy. The ILO appreciates your presence and participation in today’s discussion.

Climate change and environmental degradation pose great challenges in the world of work. It will have a huge effect on workers and communities, and on workplaces and enterprises. We are grateful that the Climate Change Consciousness Week is putting a spotlight on green jobs and a just transition to a green economy. A just transition is crucial in achieving decent work for all and addressing impacts of climate change on economies, enterprises, workers and communities.

This side event aptly fits with the objective of this year’s CCC Week, which seeks to promote beyond awareness and moving towards driving transformative actions among stakeholders to achieve our climate goals, while improving social development goals. The Just Transition initiative in the country, anchored on the implementation of the Philippine Green Jobs Act, shares the same goal.

The Green Jobs Act – a pioneering approach in institutionalizing labour and employment dimensions in the policy framework for addressing climate change issues, provides for the development of the human capital to enable and sustain the transition to a greener economy, while promoting social justice. The aim of the Green Jobs Act is to generate green, decent jobs along the supply chain, in dynamic, high value added sectors which stimulate the upgrading of jobs and skills as well as job creation and improved productivity in more labour-intensive industries that offer employment opportunities on a wide scale.

I am pleased to note that at the recently concluded COP23, it has been recognized that the “Green Jobs Act in the Philippines is one of the first in the world to adhere to the ILO policy guidance on a just transition to a green economy.”

As a pilot country for the application of the ILO policy guidelines on “Just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All” (Just Transition), the Philippines is regarded as a model, with the policies and initiatives being put in place, on who to ensure a just transition in pursuing an environmentally sustainable economy and society.

We know that climate change is a result of human activity, and in most part, is work-related. At the same time, impacts of climate change continue to undermine productivity and affect enterprises, jobs, and livelihoods.

It is for this reason that the world of work will have to play a key role in taking action to solve this pressing issue, together with all relevant stakeholders. Given the scale, complexity and urgency, it is crucial to take a holistic approach and to ensure a just transition.

Job losses and skills shortages including impacts on business assets and working conditions are expected to occur in some parts of the economy. Certain jobs will be eliminated or substituted. Still, there are many opportunities to transform existing jobs and to create decent work with a reduced impact on the environment. These opportunities include renewable energies, sustainable construction, green enterprises, and sustainable agriculture.

In fact, the ILO cited in 2012 that the transformation to a greener and low-carbon economy could generate up to 60 million additional jobs across economic sectors. If properly managed, climate change action and a just transition can lead to more and better jobs.

The Just Transition initiative in the Philippines is in support of the implementation of the Philippine Green Jobs Act and in leveraging the process of structural change towards a greener, low carbon, climate-resilient economy that create decent jobs on a significant scale.

Central to this process is social dialogue to build a consensus and to ensure a just transition, which allows to bring together industrial strategy, innovation,
deploy¬ment of green technologies and investment in green infrastructure, along with the measures needed to ease the transition: social protection, skills training, redeployment, labour market policies, economic diversification, and community development.

This should ensure that all key stakeholders, including Government, employers, workers, and all other stakeholders, are on board to jointly address the interlinking issues concerning greening of the economy. The collaborative policy forum of the ILO and the Climate Change Commission on Green Jobs and Just Transition to a Green Economy is providing such platform.

As we jointly embark on fully implementing the Green Jobs Act, especially with the recent issuance of its Implementing Rules and Regulations, I am positive that the country will soon reap the benefits of transitioning to a greener economy – where no one is left behind.

Let us keep in mind that a greener economy is not inclusive and socially sustainable by default. By working together, we can design a green future that is decent and just.

Through the Just Transition initiative, and you are assured of the ILO’s continued support as we pursue a greener and just future.

I wish you all an enriching and successful event.

Thank you!